The 2019 Emmys are this Sunday, September 22. Keep an eye out for these confirmed Jewish nominees!

The Primetime Emmys, for excellence in TV, will be presented at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, on Fox. There will be no host. The number of categories (27) is a record and many categories now have more than the “traditional” five nominees. Here are the confirmed Jewish nominees.


Lead actor, comedy series: Michael Douglas, 74,The Kominsky Method, and Eugene Levy, 72, Schitt’s Creek

Lead actress, comedy series: Natasha Lyonne, 40, Russian Doll; Lead actress, limited series or TV movie: Patricia Arquette, 51, Escape at Dannemora, and Joey King, 20, The Act

Supporting actor, comedy series: Henry Winkler, 73, Barry, and Alan Arkin, 85, The Kominsky Method. Arkin and Winkler compete with Tony Shalhoub, who isn’t Jewish, but is nominated for playing a Jewish character in The Amazing Mrs. Maisel

Supporting actress, comedy series: Alex Borstein, 48, Mrs. Maisel and Sarah Goldberg, 34, Barry. Borstein and Goldberg compete with Marin Hinkle, who isn’t Jewish, but plays a Jewish character in Mrs. Maisel

Supporting actress, drama series: Julia Garner, 25, Ozark; Supporting actress, limited series: Patricia Arquette (whose late mother was Jewish), The Act.

Acting Notes

The Arquette-King competition for the lead actress Emmy (above) is a bit weird. Arquette is a supporting actress nominee for playing Joey King’s mother in The Act and a lead actress nominee (limited series) for Escape at Dannemora. King is a lead actress nominee (limited series) for playing Arquette’s daughter in The Act.

Almost all the major characters in Mrs. Maisel are Jewish, but the only Maisel Jewish thespian to get an Emmy nomination, Alex Borstein, plays a non-Jewish character.

Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin won 2019 Golden Globe awards for their Kominsky Method roles. The series began in November 2018 and this is its first year for Emmy consideration. Both have good chances to win the Emmy. However, I think Tony Shalhoub, who lost to Henry Winkler last year, will probably best Winkler (and others) this year in the supporting actor category. Winkler was a sentimental favorite in 2018. He had been nominated six times before he finally won an Emmy last year.

Directing, Writing

The directing and writing awards cite a specific episode, which I have omitted.

Director, comedy series: Amy Sherman-Palladino, 53, Mrs. Maisel

Director, drama series: David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, both 48, Game of Thrones, and Miguel Sapochnik, 45, Game of Thrones

Director, limited series, movie or dramatic special: Ben Stiller, 53, Escape at Dannemora and Stephen Frears, 78, A Very English Scandal

Director, variety series: Sacha Baron Cohen, 47, Nathan Fiedler, 35, and Dan Mazer, 47, are nominated as co-directors of an episode of Who is America?

Writing, comedy series: Natasha Lyonne, co-writer of an episode of Russian Doll; and Allison Silverman, 47, writing (alone) another Russian Doll episode; and David H. Mandel, 49, Veep

Writing, drama series: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones and Bruce Miller, 54ish, for co-writing an episode of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Writing, limited series or movie: Craig Mazin, 48, Chernobyl; and Michael Tolkin, 68, co-writer, Escape at Dannemora; and Steven Levenson, 35, co-writer of Fosse/Verdon.

Directing/Writing Notes

Amy Sherman-Palladino competes with her husband, Daniel Palladino, for best director, comedy. They co-created Mrs. Maisel and they each directed a Maisel episode that was nominated.

Natasha Lyonne’s acting and writing nominations are wonderful “ratifications” of her amazing comeback. She had a pretty hot career in good films like The Slums of Beverly Hills (1998), but she gradually fell into alcohol and heroin use and seemed on a terminal slide in 2004-5 (arrests, etc.). But she totally cleaned-up her act and gradually re-built her career. She was helped by a big part on Orange is the New Black from 2013-2019.

Michael Tolkin’s father, Mel Tolkin (1913-2007), was a great, Emmy-winning comedy writer who wrote for everybody big in his era (Sid Caesar, Danny Kaye, Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope).

Best Series/Movie Categories

The “best” awards are normally given to the producers of the nominated program. My practice is to list the nominated shows and TV movie(s) that have a Jewish creator or co-creator. Usually the creator(s) are a producer of their show, too.

Comedy series: Curb Your Enthusiasm, created by Larry David, 72; and Glow, co-created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, 36ish; and Silicon Valley, co-created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler, 56, and Dave Krinsky, 56

Drama series: Game of Thrones, created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (above); and The Americans, created by Joe Weisberg, 50ish; and The Crown, created by Peter Morgan, 56; and The Handmaid’s Tale, created by Bruce Miller (above); and This is Us, created by Dan Fogelman, 43; Variety sketch series: Drunk History, co-created by Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner, 39ish; and I Love You America, created by Sarah Silverman, 48

Limited series: Chernobyl, created by Craig Mazin (above); and Fosse/Verdon, created by Steven Levenson (above) and Thomas Kail; and Escape at Dannemora, co-created by Michael Tolkin (above) and Brett Johnson

TV movie: Deadwood: The Movie, written by David Milch, 74, creator of the Deadwood series.

“Best” Notes

Craig Mazin, nominated for writing and creating Chernobyl, was Sen. Ted Cruz’s roommate when they both were freshmen at Princeton.

Glow, co-created by Carly Mensch, has some Jewish content and I figured that somebody named Mensch connected with this show had to be Jewish. But so far as I can tell, nobody has asked Mensch, a respected playwright, about her background. Well, I checked family history sources and found out that both her parents are Jewish and her paternal grandfather, an orphan who became a big guy in the suburban lumber business, was born Israel Mensch(!) Is there a more Jewish name than that? (He went by the name Edward I. Mensch as an adult).

International Note

Miguel Sapochnik, Stephen Frears, Sacha Baron Cohen and Dan Mazer are Brits. Eugene Levy, Sarah Goldberg and Nathan Fiedler are Canadians.


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